Looking for my best holiday, I decided to take a break from tradition for the 2014 Chinese Lunar New Year whose first day fell on 31 January. Instead of the usual rounds of visiting friends and relatives, eating, drinking and offering the traditional red packets, my wife and I flew to Milan instead, one of the great fashion and design capitals of the world.
Our daughter Carolyn joined us in Bergamo after attending a schoolmate’s wedding in London. With her as our Italian-speaking navigator, my Italian wheels took us through many lovely Italian cities. These cities bear names that evoke romance and history – Bologna, Modena, Palma, Ravenna, Turin and Verona.
Valentine’s Day was around the corner and love was in the air. We were walking along an alley of cobbled stones in Verona, when suddenly, we were in a crowded courtyard where all eyes were towards the famous balcony where Juliet once stood waiting for Romeo.
There are now no more fights between the Capulets and the Montagues, but Verona is still the place where love is re-affirmed. Love is infinite – as immortalised in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
In Turin, we were guests of a well-travelled doctor named Frederico and his group of eclectic friends. We downed wines with pizzas and shared unique travel stories for the group comprised an Italian dancer, a Russian emigrant, a Texan ex-GI and his Oriental philosophy-loving Welsh girlfriend.
It was a special occasion. We were privileged to join Dr. Frederico’s party to re-affirm his love for his wife. He announced that he was going to be a father in November.
After a night of celebration, did I see double visions the next morning? A floating monk in the Piazza Castello! Time to head home…happy to know that love flourishes.